Elan: A Computer-Controlled Ankle that Feels Like A Natural Ankle
Hydraulic ankle technology has improved so much in the past few years. The new generation of microprocessor-controlled feet can offer more stability when standing and walking on slopes and uneven terrain. Such is the experience with the Elan.
Produced by Blatchford, a multi-award winning manufacturer of some of the world's most advanced technology, the Elan is designed to mimic natural muscle resistance as well as a biological ankle's motion by adjusting hydraulic resistance levels. The result is optimized stability, decreased compensatory movements, more symmetrical limb loading, and faster walking speed.
The Elan is also designed to help protect the prosthetic user's body, so hips and joints don't suffer from the full brunt of the impact of daily activities. The Elan does this through its optimally positioned ankle pivot point, creating a more natural response from the body, through the gait cycle. This results in more natural walking that is also smoother and generally safer.
Ramp brake and assist
Unlike conventional prosthetic feet that require users to mentally prepare for the impact of walking downhill or up slopes, the Elan allows prosthetic users to move naturally without worrying about their prosthetic limb.
On walking downhill, lower resistance when your foot is pointed downwards (plantarflexion) allows the foot to make full contact with the slope sooner. This feature improves safety and security. Simultaneously, increased resistance when the foot is flexed (dorsiflexion) provides a brake-like effect, stabilizing the prosthetic user to ensure a safer, more controlled descent.
On the other hand, when the prosthetic user is walking quickly or up slopes, the Elan's plantarflexion resistance is designed to increase. This allows more optimal energy storage and return. When this is combined with a softer dorsiflexion resistance, the Elan aids the body's forward momentum while minimizing the effort required to walk fast or uphill.
Standing support and swing clearance
The Elan makes standing for a longer time more comfortable than on a non-hydraulic prosthetic foot. The Elan features a network of sensors that detects when the user is stationary. Then it increases resistance in the foot to improve stability and balance. This feature also reduces the prosthetic user's effort while encouraging a more natural gait and posture.
During the swing phase, the ankle remains in a dorsiflexed position, increasing toe clearance on every step and reducing the risk of stumbling or falling.
The Elan has a new design that features an integrated charging connector with a new LED battery power indicator. It also has a longer battery life that allows a prosthetic user to wear the foot for up to two days between charges and a low power mode. The Elan is also designed with a sandal toe foot shell, making it easier for the user to switch footwear.
For more information about the Elan, please visit www.blatchford.co.uk/products/elan/.